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Smoking Charges Ignite

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Filed Under , on February 16th, 2019

Shuffler’s Luck

By Seth Kabala

I never knew a card game could change my life. I’m not talking about a high-stakes poker game, where international gangsters vie for dominance in a world of chance, and if chance doesn’t go their way, bullets will do as a nice substitute. I’m talking about a simple card game with suggestions for the players’ lives. A game where the longer you play it, the more the suggestions move toward predictions, and from predictions toward fate.

You don’t know me, and you don’t need to. (I’m Esme. Hi.) I guess it’s good to exchange names. Makes this a little less like an online lecture and more like a concerned citizen passing along her knowledge so others can avoid her fate. Pay attention. I can only do so much while driving 200mph.

This game gives you the same feeling you get when you see a car wreck up ahead on the road. You tell yourself you’re not going to be a worthless twit and slow down and ruin the commute of every driver behind you, and just like that, you’re doing 30 in a 65, and maybe, just maybe, you catch a glimpse of gore for your troubles, maybe even a severed arm. But you have no control. You didn’t wake up and say, “I’m going to look at live gore today and maybe become gore myself when an 18-wheeler rides up the back of my tiny-environmentally-friendly-auto-that-couldn’t-stop-an-angry-horsefly vehicle and converts my body into a new set of exo-engine fluids.”

But there you are, and here I am, looking at the cards. I read the words. This isn’t me, or should I say, this wasn’t me. Yesterday, I was on stage, bending down, legs straight, hands sliding down my thighs, sometimes passing over spandex, sometimes not, lifting up a stiletto heel to pick up scattered hundreds from the high-roller crowd. Another day’s work. Good money. Even great money. Pretty soon, though, even spandex won’t hold back what time has a hold of, and that’s why I started playing the game.

The game has taken control of my life’s fader bar and jammed it all the way to the top. I’m along for the ride now. Better strap in. Today’s role: getaway driver. With what am I getting away? Don’t know. The card didn’t specify. Just that I’m the driver, so I spin the tires and burn it.

* * *

Will got Amy a card game for her birthday, called “Who’s Most Likely To …” The title shows on the box’s face. The title, though, is not what’s interesting. That comes from the box’s sides. One side says “Party”; the other side, “Game.” I noticed this game was lacking explanatory verbiage to define the word “party.” Allow me to provide said verbiage.

This game is not to be played at a funeral. However, there are exceptions, such as when rich Uncle Ernest has had too much wine and starts talking seriously about reallocating his wealth. At that  juncture, playing this game is acceptable. We’ll even go a step further and say that writing this on a blank card is advisable: “Who’s most likely to name their favorite nephew in their will with a bequest of 10,000 Amazon shares? This drunk fool right here. … I mean up there dancing on the communion table and singing Take On Me and challenging the devil to a duel.” Better act on getting the estate lawyer there pronto. Also, don’t forget a notary. Always the damn notary.

(Notice: a guy wrote this section.) This game is not to be played while you’re banging your wife, although that would qualify as a party of a different kind. (Yes, we said banging. We’ve taken a poll of our company’s workers, and all significant others are okay with the substitution of “banging” for “making love.” We recommend checking with your significant other before employing said verb substitution. But if you get the go-ahead, this could bring needed improvement to your bedroom. She might like it. Certainly better than always treating her like she’s an embroidered Victorian tablecloth with matching tea set. Only the finest love-making for you, Govnuh!)  On second thought, since we’ve spent nearly the totality of this paragraph on tangential relationship advice and not explaining why you cannot play this game while you’re banging your wife, we’ve decided to reverse ourselves. Bang your wife and play the game. Sounds like fun.

This game is only to be played at a traditional party. No substitutions allowed. We are the Party Game people, and we’ll know. How do we define “traditional party”? Ah, shit. Wait for the second printing of the game. We’ll explain then.

The creators of “Who’s Most Likely To …” have no idea of the gifts I’ve given them in this column. Their cards can control the world and turn former strippers named Esmeralda into crucial members of high-speed heist capers. Their cards can aid the swift transfer of wealth out of the hands of those who would otherwise waste their time ruining 80s hits and fighting supernatural beings. Their cards are an invitation to dirty talk. Their cards are also a cautionary tale on the virtues of outlining a piece before you plunge into writing it.

I’m giving the creators less credit than they’re due. If you’re not a huge gamer and you’re cruising the aisles at Target, looking for a quick and easy game with which to entertain your dinner guests, naturally your eyes will alight on a game with “Party” and “Box” emblazoned on its sides. It’s practically selling itself. It did in our case, as Will was short a few bucks, but the game looked so intriguing to him–basically, you vote on who in your group is most likely to behave in boorish, lazy, or socially-unacceptable-except-when-revealed-in-close-company behavior (Don’t worry. We took out the really bad ones–until the kids get older.)–he was willing to take out an interest-free loan from the First Bank of Dad. I didn’t even run his fingerprints. He’s that credit worthy.

The game appears possessed of the power to produce laughter.

The power to produce fate?

Find out for yourself.


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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, musician, family man, and juggler of balls--big ones. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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